Many records refer to a "Red House" in the northeast section of Caswell County that was in or near the community today called Semora. References are to "The Red House, "Red House," "Red House" Community, and "Red House" Presbyterian Church. Some have stated that the original "Red House" was the "Red House Tavern," which was painted red and gave the name to the community and to the Presbyterian Church.
Historian William S. Powell provided the following:
The Red House Tavern near Semora, owned by Lewis Shirley, was another populr center for horse racing. Shirley advertised in the Milton Intelligencer of May 6, 1819, that he had purchased "the celebrated Imported Horse EAGLE" and that he would be let to mares at Red House at $50 the season. "And as to a race horse," he said, "England never produced his equal in his day, which may be seen by reference to the English stud book, in my possession, together with his blood and numerous performances." By 1825 Shirley had moved to Kentucky where he raised thoroughbred horses. Afterwards he went on to Texas where it has been said he introduced thoroughbreds.
The account book for Red House Tavern contains entries that suggest the kind of entertainment dispensed there. Guests sometimes rented space at the tavern and gave balls. Other guests stayed for many days at a time consuming large quantities of cider, brandy, and whiskey. Glasses of toddy and julips appear often in the accounts. An extra fee was charged for oysters, and "dinners during the races" were more expensive than at other times; sometimes dinner was even served at the track. Ordinarily dinner might be forty to fifty cents, but at the track it would be $2.00. Many account book entries include a charge for the guest's horse, and occasionally during the season the book records that Shirley lent cash to his patrons. it was not unusual for many regular customers to charge drinks on an average of seven different days a month, but sometimes names appear up to eighteen days out of a month. Whiskey was the drink most often consumed, and it was not unusual for up to eight drinks or gills to be charged to a man in one day.
Source: When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 160.